Volume 7, Issue 11 p. 819-833
Article

Humble Beginnings: Current Trends, State Perspectives, and Hallmarks of Humility

Joseph Chancellor

Corresponding Author

Joseph Chancellor

University of California

Correspondence: Department of Psychology, University of California, 900 University Avenue, Riverside, CA, USA. Email: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Sonja Lyubomirsky

Sonja Lyubomirsky

University of California

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First published: 04 November 2013
Citations: 78

Abstract

After decades of neglect, research in humility is finally turning a corner. Within the past few years, investigators have articulated two promising strategies to overcome methodological concerns – namely, using personality judgments and designing humility “stress tests” to elicit humility-relevant behavior. We also highlight an alternative perspective of humility that has not yet gained much attention: the investigation of humility as a state, which helps to understand what humility actually is, how it functions, and its variability within individuals over time. To improve the observation of humility-relevant behavior, we propose five intrapersonal and interpersonal hallmarks of humility that have strong theoretical support, can distinguish between humility's conceptual foils of narcissism and low self-esteem, and provide broad theoretical ties between ongoing research endeavors: A secure, accepting identity, freedom from distortion, openness to new information, other-focus, and egalitarian beliefs. Finally, to increase methodological rigor, we recommend using a combination of self-reports and other-reports and employing multiple raters with demonstrated inter-rater reliability in validation studies.